Fishing For Soul

Angling for Spiritual Reconnection

Archive for spiritual stories

This Is To Mother You

I was standing in the kitchen chopping vegetables and listening to an assortment of music from my iTunes catalog last night when the following lyrics from the song This Is To Mother You (written and originally performed by Sinead O’Connor on her Gospel Oak EP) beckoned me to be still and listen closely:

“All mistakes made in distress
All your unhappiness
I will take away with my kiss
Yes I will give you tenderness

For child I am so glad I found you
Although my arms have always been around you
Sweet bird although you did not see me
I saw you.”

Although I’ve heard the song dozens of times I was absolutely mesmerized. Following an impulse and a recognizable call to sit in meditation, I hit the replay button on the iTunes program and walked into my dark living room in time to see the moon – half full, golden and looming large in the sky – nestled between two buildings. I sat on the floor and closed my eyes. Images of what I call the Divine Mother began to surface. The Virgin of Guadeloupe, Kuan-Yin, Kali, and an infinite number of energies that called themselves ‘the grandmothers’ sang to me and caressed me.

“All the pain that you have known
All the violence in your soul
All the wrong things you have done
I will take from you when I come”

Memories of tender and nurturing moments with lovers, friends, and family brought tears of joy to my eyes.

“And I’m here to mother you
To comfort you and get you through
Through when your nights are lonely
Through when your dreams are only blue
This is to mother you”

Sometimes I find it best not to question those experiences, so I just let it unfold. When I went to bed I could still hear the voice of ‘the grandmothers’ and see their light shining brightly over my arms, legs and head.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

Who is mothering you?

Today’s Positive and Powerful Affirmation is:
“I mother myself all ways.”

Today I am grateful for divine guidance, mothers all other the world and beyond, trust, Sinead O’Connor, music that moves me, a soft touch, dreamless sleep, early morning inspirational talks, Pandora, Nurture’s Path, deep breaths, and home-cooked meals.

Thanks and peace to all.

Joe

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Your Impulse: Can You Just Give In To It?

Yesterday I wrote about following my impulse in writing. Without a known topic I gave myself permission to let my fingers and hands find their way to the computer keys and I let whatever wanted to appear on the screen show itself. What came out was a few lines about nothing.

Sitting down to write today’s piece I gathered my mental notes and news statistics about the blockbuster film Avatar. When I thought I was ready to type and fill up the page with some cohesive verse about the importance of a movie like Avatar my mind went blank. Then I heard a familiar voice say, “Follow your impulse and do what you did yesterday.”

I ignored the voice, just like I did yesterday, just as I’ve done a million times in my life. Hmm… And at what price?

I’ve decided to embark on what may turn out to be an interesting experiment and let this weeks posts write themselves. It sometimes happens like that anyway. When I go into ‘the creativity zone’ I often wonder who is doing the writing, talking, drumming. singing, etc. Let’s see what comes through today.

“Whenever you find your self resisting your true nature, you may experience discomfort, doubt, fear or uncertainty. Can you really be who you say you are when your heart and mind are at odds with each other, when your ‘true’ self is left to languish?

What on Earth would your life be like if you chose to follow just one impulse each day? Just ONE impulse out of the multitude that attempts to be seen and heard in a 24-hour period. Do you think it would be any more painful to follow an impulse than not to? What are you afraid of? Being wrong? Being right? Failing? Succeeding?

What if you TRUSTED your self enough to break out of the illusion of beliefs that have kept you from living where and how you want to live? Can you imagine what your life – your world – would look like? Can you imagine? Can you? We invite you to TRY.”

OK! There you have it.

Today’s affirmation: “Positive energy flows through me all ways. I live my life the way I want to.”

Today I give thanks to another impulse, my open heart and mind, the thrill of giving in to something that is not so new, anyone and everyone who has ever inspired me by allowing their impulsive genius to shine through, ‘negative’ assessments, my teachers at the New York Shamanic Circle, the Skype video cam, curiosity, chocolate, and my healthy body.

Amen.

Thanks and peace to all!

Joe

How Is Your Stamina?

It’s winter. I need to sleep. Not hibernate, just get a solid eight hours of sleep so that I feel rested when I wake up. It keeps my mind sharp and my spirit peaceful. Without the proper amount of sleep my stamina suffers.

Lately I’ve been staying up far too late for my own good. “But I’m working on my creative projects,” I rationalize. In the morning I manage to be quite chipper, but as the day progresses I notice that I am a bit ‘off’, and the actions I want to take in regard to manifesting my goals do not get done.

What to do?

I have a deck of Animal Medicine Cards and on an impulse yesterday (btw, my #1 new year resolution/commitment is to follow my impulses) I drew a card. Elk, the symbol for Stamina, appeared. The message that stuck out for me was, “Elk is telling you to look at how you choose to create your present pathway, and how you intend to perpetuate it to reach your goal. Your best weapon is the same as Elk’s: to stop when you need to, to persist when you need to, and to allow room for change and exchange of energies.”

The message always shows up at the right time.

And now I’ll take the advice that came from someone I follow on Twitter who posted a quote by Pablo Picasso: “”Action is the foundational key to all success.” and go to sleep.

Today I send my gratitude to all who dream big dreams and take empowering action to see them through, to Robin Coley, my landlord, my neighbors, all the folks who run the New York Sports Club at 145th St. and who gave my friend an extra day on her visitors pass, the authors and artist who created the Medicine Cards that I’ve had since 1993, my clients, new and prosperous business opportunites, my home at the beach, my book agent, editor and publisher.

Thanks and peace to all!

Joe

Are You Living Peace? (Warning: This post contains strong language.)

“Motherfucking faggot,” I heard the man say as he barreled past.

“Is he talking to me?”

I looked around the subway car. There were four other people waiting for the #3 train to leave the 148th St. station, three women and a young man.

“Maybe he had a run-in with someone before he stepped into the train,” I assured myself.

A familiar uneasiness had crept in. I looked down the subway car at the big guy who had just sat down. He was staring at me. Or was he?

“Why are you looking down there, Joe?” I asked myself.

“What are you looking at fucking faggot?”

“I think he’s talking to me NOW!”

I pretended not to hear him and looked down at my Blackberry.

“Why am I nervous? Why the hell am I letting this guy upset me? Focus on something else, Joe. Be compassionate and tolerant, just like you think he should be. Do I LOOK gay? What am I saying? I AM gay. What the heck does ‘look gay’ mean? Great, now I’m thinking in stereotypes. Shit. Am I a stereotype? Am I dressed ‘gay’? Maybe it’s my shoes. Are my pants too tight? I’m sitting down, he can’t tell if my pants are tight. Mom once told me I looked like a girl in grade school. Where was that memory hiding? Remember when that guy called Byron Katie a fucking bitch? She said ‘Yes, thank you.’ Thank this guy for recognizing the truth: You are a man who has sex with men. So what? Oh, this is some conversation I’m having with myself. Compassion and tolerance, Joe, come on. Asshole. I could kick his ass. If I had a baseball bat I’d break his friggin’ skull. Asshole. I don’t need a bat, I’ll use my hands. Fucking asshole. He’s really messing with the wrong person.”

I laughed at myself. “Yeah, now I sound like him. Very good.”

I was so immersed in my violent, stress-inducing thoughts that I barely noticed my alleged gay-basher getting off the train. A deep breath. Now could I be tolerant and compassionate?

It’s a day later and I still don’t know if he was really looking at and talking to me. Funny what the mind can do.

How many gay men, people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, obese people, etc. experience what I did today? How many of us allow the kind of thoughts that I described to run rampant without taking a closer look at the source of the torture?

Why do we think that others must change for there to be peace? Like the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Will you let peace begin with you?

My affirmation for today is: ‘I am peace.’

Today I am grateful for the man on the 3 train, my brilliant mind, my loving heart, my fear and anger, my friends and family, gay men and women all over the world (Uganda, Rwanda!), warm clothes, Always Economically Viable, Robin Coley, Byron Katie, and this blog.

Thanks and peace to all!

Joe

My Cat Is My Guru

I admit it. I used to call my cat an asshole. I used to do that a lot.

Quite often, when Wicca would do her “Get Up and Feed Me” purr and dance routine around my head at 5 or 6 in the morning, or when she would send things crashing to the floor in yet another attempt to wake me from my blissful slumber, the word asshole would fly out of my mouth as my hands repeatedly pushed her furry face out of my nose, or her paw out of my eye.

My pet’s pet name would also emerge whenever she tore around the apartment in a post-meal frenzy, leaping onto my desk as I worked, jumping up the wall after some invisible playmate, or carelessly smashing things that happened to be in her way.

Late last year my then-boyfriend, in his great wisdom, insisted that I stop calling Wicca an, uh, you-know-what. So as part of my New Year commitments I told myself and God that I would stop that practice.

Over the course of this year I have trained myself to get out of bed when Wicca asks me to, I have allowed myself to enjoy her acrobatic genius, and I have learned to respect (but not always give in to) her desire for attention at all hours of the day and night.

I’m not saying I’ve been a complete name-calling celibate. The a-word has slipped out on occasion, usually when I’ve over-extended myself or am in a hurry. The funny thing is, as my behavior continues to change, I hardly notice what were once Wicca’s terribly bothersome traits.

The other day I spent several hours working from home on my computer. Every now and then I would get up to stretch my limbs, grab a glass of water, and find out what the cat was up to (oh, still napping!). On one of those breaks I found Wicca curled up in the coat I had tossed onto the couch. I bent over her, whispered her name, poked at her ears and woke her. She looked at me and I picked her up. In that moment I froze, aware that I had just done to her exactly what she has done to me on countless mornings. Did she swat at me, push me away, attempt to bite me, or call me an asshole? No. She looked at me, purred and lifted her chin higher as I stroked her neck.

I love my guru housemate.

Today I am grateful for Wicca, a sound sleep, the NY Shamanic Circle, the AEV community, Robin Coley, my laptop, long-term planning, my newest J.O.B., self-confidence, AD, Byron Katie, Rosa, aspirin, my Monday Spin class, new clients, my book agent, editor and publisher, Hay House Publishing and Radio.

Amen!

Thanks and peace.

Joe

Get Over It!

hurdle

Every once in a while I sit down with myself and have a good chat.

“OK, Joe, get over it. You’re really making yourself miserable here. What are you gonna do – get all upset and freaked out, or make the necessary changes that will make you feel better?”

My friend Robin reminded me of how powerful it can be to have one of those little ‘Talks with Self’ moments. She was upset about something the other day, went for a walk, talked herself into a better emotional place, and took a positive action that made her feel even better.

One day last week I was ironing (Yes, I thought I was finished with that, too) and the iron left a small, orange spot on the front of my light blue shirt. Suddenly I was six years old again, upset and running home from school after falling down and tearing my pants at the knee. Forget about the cut I had, I was having a meltdown because I couldn’t stand the thought of being seen in a ripped pair of (green) pants. And there I was at age 43 cursing the iron, moaning about the lack of sleep due to a pinched nerve in my upper back (and making the pain worse in the process – how curious), and telling myself I had no business going to the interview I had that day.

Oh, man, it just went on and on… until it stopped. It stopped because I stopped. I stopped and said, “No, Joe, none of that is true. Now think another, more positive thought. Start over. Get yourself together, get out of the house, and greet your day with a smile.” That’s all it took for me to feel better. It all happened in a matter of minutes, perhaps seconds.

“It’s just not that exciting or meaningful to remain in a place that doesn’t feel good. What are you waiting for? Get up and get moving!

Life is moving swiftly all around you. Your time here will be over soon enough. Do you think you’ll be happy with your results when you look back at the end of this journey? Get up and get moving!

Change your mind, think a new and better thought and watch how your emotions can quickly shift from ‘not good’ to ‘very good’, and how easy it then becomes for you to take the most positive action, thus setting into motion a series of joyful events and outcomes.

What are you waiting for?” – At One

Amen.

Today I am grateful for believing in myself, for trusting the process, for another opportunity to embrace my humanity and my spirituality, for dreams, for a growing Almost Economically Viable community (http://www.almosteconomicallyviable.com), for the gym, my workout buddy, trains that are ‘on time’, my book agent, editor and publisher, and Hay House Publishing and Radio.

Thanks and peace!

Joe

Life Is Sweet If You Let It Be.

sun

I took advantage of a warm, sunny weekend and spent some quality time doing something that I have loved to do since I was a kid – digging in the Earth and playing with the plant people.

I live in a landmark building in northern Harlem (that’s in New York City for those who don’t know) and the courtyard is filled with trees, plants, and flowers. It is truly an oasis in the city and visitors are quite surprised to see all the greenery when they step through the arched entrance. Some residents have even said they moved here because of the gardens. Oh, the power of Nature…

For the past few years I’ve been a part of a small team of committed, volunteer gardeners whose mission is to keep the grounds green and clean. I must say we are doing a great job this year and our efforts remind me of the power of cooperation and collaboration.

Back in early May I was concerned that my summer would be a drag without the beach house that I’d grown accustomed to (a serious case of thinking about what had not yet occured). Thankfully, I’ve rediscovered the immense pleasure of spending eight, sweaty hours on a Saturday covered with dirt as a plot of land is transformed into a work of art.

trees

As I was digging, raking and planting the other day, I got very choked up as I realized what an immense gift the hours of gardening have been for me these past few months. I’ve reconnected with neighbors, had a chance to experiment with landscape design, made a solid contribution to my community, and used my time outside as a way to work out some of the crap in my head. And although I may be ‘a work horse’ as a fellow green-thumbed worker called me, the loving connection I feel with all of the living things out there is really what keeps me going for hours on end. I don’t think it’s my imagination when I look at the trees and plants, when I smell the soil, and when I feel the sun beating down that I hear those beings say, “Thank you for honoring us.” It is moments like that when I truly understand how sweet Life is, when we let it be.

“It can take just one very brief moment for you to understand how important, beautiful and ALIVE everything is. It is NOT your imagination when you hear the trees whispering to you, the wind calling your name, or the water beckoning to you. All of those ‘things’ are quite capable of communicating and sharing their incredible vibration with you at any time. How open you will be to hearing the call? How open will you be to letting those energies touch you, to fill you with what can only be called Love?

There is an abundance of experiences waiting for you. Open your eyes! Look around! Life IS sweet. Take a breath and let it be. Let it be.” – At One

Amen.

flowers

Today I am grateful for Cida, David, Jeremy, Michael, Ramona and all the Dunbar garden contributors, for my body and breath, ceiling fans, for time alone to reflect upon the beauty of my world, iTunes, friends who face their fears, my book agent, editor and publisher, Hay House Publishing and Radio, new business opportunities, God and gardens.

Thanks and peace!

Joe